India abstained on UNHRC resolution on Situation in China’s Xinjiang


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    • Recently, India decided to abstain from a resolution on the concerns at the UN human rights commission related to rights of people in China’s Xinjiang region which was in line with the practice of not voting on country-specific resolutions.

    About the draft resolution 

    • The draft resolution was pushed by a group comprising Canada, Denmark, Finland, the UK, the US, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, and was co-sponsored by some other countries. 
      • The vote ultimately went in favour of China, with 19 members of the UNHRC opposing the resolution and 11 members, including India, Malaysia and Ukraine, abstaining. 
      • The resolution was supported by France, Germany, Japan and the Netherlands. 
    • It is for the first time that India clearly called for respecting the human rights of the people of Xinjiang Uyghur autonomous region.

    Who are the Uyghurs?

    • Uyghurs are mostly Muslims that live in China’s Xinjiang which is officially known as the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR).
      • With about 12 million population, the Uyghurs constitute about half of the population in the region.
    • They speak a language which is similar to Turkish and consider themselves close to Central Asian nations.
    • In 1953, the Uyghur population was more than 75 percent of the region, according to a census cited in the UN report.
      • However, the last few years have seen the Han Chinese, the country’s ethnic minority, migrate to Xinjiang in large numbers. 
      • Their numbers have gone up from seven percent more than six decades ago to 42 per cent now

    Do you know?

    • Xinjiang is technically an autonomous region within China, its largest region, rich in minerals, and sharing borders with eight countries, including India, Pakistan, Russia and Afghanistan.

    What atrocities are committed against the Uyghurs?

    • Human Rights Violation
      • China has been accused of human rights abuses on a large scale in Xinjiang.
    • Mass migration of the Han Chinese 
      • The state has been accused of allegedly orchestrating the mass migration of the Han Chinese to dilute the Uyghur population in Xinjiang.
    • Attack on the re practices
      • There have been allegations against the government of targeting Mulsim religious figures, banning religious practices, and destroying mosques in the region.
    • Genocide 
      • The United States and the United Kingdom are among several countries that have accused China of committing genocide, which is described as the intention to destroy in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group.
    • Re-education camps 
      • According to human rights groups, more than one million Uyghurs have been detained and thousands have been sent to prison over the last few years. 
      • Many Uyghur Muslims have been lodged in what the state calls “re-education camps”.
    • Shoot-to-kill policy 
      • Police files obtained by the BBC in 2022 have revealed exploitation in these camps, where armed officers are deployed and there’s a shoot-to-kill policy in place for those trying to escape.
    • Mass sterilising Uyghur women 
      • Several media reports suggest that China has been mass sterilising Uyghur women by force to control their population.
    • Forced Labour
      • Uyghurs inside and outside the camps are exploited for cheap labour and forced to manufacture clothing and other products for sale both at home and abroad.
    • It is the largest mass internment of an ethnic-religious minority group since World War II. 
      • The concentration camps are the most extreme example of China’s inhumane policies against the Uyghurs, but the entire population is subject to repressive policies.
    • Allegations of Terrorism
      • Individuals suspected of terrorism are held in high-security facilities without due process and for indefinite lengths of time.

    Why does China target Uyghurs?

    • Extremist views and separatist ideas 
      • China believes that Muslim minorities hold extremist views and separatist ideas.
    • Eliminate Islamist extremism 
      • Chinese President warned of the toxicity of religious extremism and advocated for using the tools of dictatorship to eliminate Islamist extremism in a series of secret speeches.
    • Eliminating threats
      • The Chinese government considers these camps as a way of eliminating threats to the country’s territorial integrity, government, and population. 

    Way Forward

    • China says that the UN rights office that published a report on serious alleged abuses in Xinjiang was the thug and accomplice of the US and the West.

    UN Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights (OHCHR)

    • The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) also known as the UN Human Rights Office is mandated to promote and protect all human rights established in the UN Charter and in international human rights laws and treaties.
    • OHCHR works with governments, legislatures, courts, national institutions, civil society, the business community, regional and international organisations, and the UN system to develop and strengthen the protection of human rights, particularly at the national level, in accordance with international norms.
    • OHCHR is led by the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the principal human rights official of the UN.

    Source: TH